The Major Cricket Formats Explored – What Are They?

The following information is all about the major formats that are available in cricket sport.

Cricket has transformed from a traditional 5-day sport played with patience to a dynamic limited-overs game portraying players’ aggression with big hits. Over the years, 3 different cricket formats namely tests, ODIs, and T20Is, which distinguishes diverse features, tactics, rules, and regulations from each other. A longer format of the game has made it tough for spectators to watch it continuously. To make the concept much more interesting, limited-overs cricket was introduced in the 1970s.

Australian media magnate Kerry Packer envisioned an attractive cricket to grab the attention of viewers. He distinguished World Series Cricket (WSC) from traditional cricket in the late 1970s. The colored jerseys, the vibrant kits and the floodlights to play matches under lights ignited the revolution in cricket,

Moreover, the concept of super over has exhilarated fans to a great extent in case of a tie-match. Each team receives 6 balls to declare the winner allowing the maximum possibility to continue until they lose 2 wickets. Once the 2nd wicket falls, a team cannot bat further and the opponent team gets ready to chase the target.

Different cricket formats vary according to the duration and number of overs, batting approach, and bowling strategies. Also, the popularity and commercial aspects of tests, ODIs, and T20Is differ widely according to the ICC tournaments.

 3 Different Cricket formats in international cricket

Interestingly, the ICC organizes World Cup tournaments in different formats of cricket. Commonly, every format follows a rule of playing XI on both sides and 6 balls bowled per over.

All cricket formats attract its audience and have a separate fan base:

1. Test Match:

A test match in cricket is played between two international teams of 11 players in white jerseys.

It is one of the interesting cricket formats that tests the player’s patience and skills.

The first test cricket was played between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in March 1877Duration and Number of Overs:

Each side has to play 2 innings for 5 days and the team that either defends or chases the target in the 2nd innings wins the match.

Also, there isn’t any limit for a bowler or the bowling side to bowl a specified number of overs per day.

Possible Results:

Rarely, a test cricket concludes with a tie result. Most often, a team either wins or loses the match. At times when it is impossible to secure a victory, the opponent team drags the game till Day 5 to conclude with a draw result.

Batting Approach:

A batsman needs to play defensive strokes and maintain a partnership for a longer time to sustain in test cricket. Most of the time, the number of dot balls played by any individual batsman is double the score, he secured in a match.

Importantly, a batter needs to preserve his wicket for a long time to make a high score.

Bowling Style:

Bowlers in a test match, need to remain active for a longer period and continue their hunt for wickets by having patience.

Popularity and Commercial Aspects:

Test cricket hasn’t been successful in attracting a huge audience and maintaining their attention. As it follows the traditional practice of a 5-day match, only the ardent fans enjoy it completely.

ICC Tournaments:

The ICC World Test Championship occurs every two years once. During the cycle, different nations secure valuable points by winning the series. Ultimately, the first two teams in the points table compete in the finals.

2. One Day Internationals (ODIs):

As the name suggests, both teams contest in ODIs within a day, adhering to the specified number of overs per inning. Organizers schedule a  reserve day for an important match in any tournament if severe rain disrupts the game.

Fans consider ODIs among the best cricket formats integrated with a class of endurance and aggression. A perfect balance of attack and defense mode needs to be maintained by every cricketer.

Duration and Number of Overs:

Each team has to play 50 overs per inning. A bowler has a maximum quota to bowl 10 overs in a single match. Notably, a single ODI match is concluded within 8 to 8.5 hours.

Possible Results:

The opponent teams experience a tie match in the bilateral series. Whereas in tournaments like the ICC World Cup and Champions Trophy, a super over is allocated to each side. 

Batting Approach:

In ODIs, a batsman needs to play a constructive and destructive innings. Unlike test cricket, there isn’t any option for a batter to play maximum dot balls.

A batsman needs to be more aggressive than tests and maintain a balance of scoring runs as well as remain not out.  

Bowling Style:

The main objective of a bowler in ODI cricket is to grab wickets instantly and restrict the opponent team’s total score.

Popularity and Commercial Aspects:

For many years, cricket enthusiasts have enjoyed the ODI format for series and tournament matches.

Overall, it is one of the cricket formats where a huge revenue can be generated with a considerable audience engagement rate.

ICC Tournaments:

Organizers conduct tournaments like the ICC World Cup and ICC Champions Trophy every four years once.

3. Twenty-20 Internationals (T20Is):

The twenty-20 is currently the best shortest format of cricket at the international level.

The first T20 international game was played between Australia and New Zealand in 2005.

The T20Is compared to other cricket formats have gained a wider audience, providing the experience of a high-scoring thriller contest.

Duration and Number of Overs:

Both the teams contest in a 20-over format. A bowler gets a chance to bowl an utmost of 4 overs in a T20 match.

It is one of the shortest and most crisp cricket formats, that completes within 3.5 to 4 hours. 

Possible Results:

Both teams have an equal chance of winning a T20I match within a reduced overs limit. Similar to ODIs, two teams competing against each other in a series experience a tie match.

Whereas, in tournaments, match officials grant a super over per side to determine the winner.

Batting Approach:

A batsman in T20 cricket has to play fearlessly by attempting to execute risky shots.

Within the 20 overs, a batter should utilize the provided opportunity to score possible runs through gaps and over the ropes by implementing new techniques.

Bowling Style:

Bowlers deliver their most promising performance in T20Is by trying to bowl maximum yorker balls within their quota of 4 overs.

Popularity and Commercial Aspects:

T20 series and tournaments have gained a tremendous fan base, leading to the rise of franchise leagues. As a result, players can make a huge sum of money in the T20 league matches.

ICC Tournaments and League matches:

The ICC T20 World Cup tournament is conducted every two years once. Contrarily, the league matches like Indian Premier League (IPL ) and Big Bash League (BBL) are organized every year.


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